Non-fiction weeknotes #2

Inspired by our friends at BERG we try to give you weekly updates on how the people of Non-fiction are faring. With different questions and Non-fictioners each week. This week’s weeknotes’ questions:

Describe right this week in one word

Juha: Istanbul.

Boris: mar-Think-a-Write-athon

Adela: While thinking about things which are both old-fashioned and futuristic, unexpected discoveries and new identities, the Freudian concept of uncanny appears on my mind. Surprisingly enough, there is an exhibition dealing with this topic in Kunsthal Rotterdam called Uncanny. Surrealism and Graphic Design. Highly recommended!


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By Arif Kornweitz — Posted September 26, 2011 — 11,318 Comments

Viral Radio 4 Year Anniversary

On Saturday 19 March Viral Radio celebrates its 4 year anniversary at Amsterdam’s legendary underground music venue OT301. On the line up a special selection of first time performers Om Unit and Illum Sphere, who will make their debut in the Netherlands, and all time favourite artists Raphael Vanoli (Knalpot), Datcho (Viral Radio), Cinnaman (Viral Radio) and Non-fiction’s Juha.

In the 4 years since Viral Radio began, it has grown into one of the Netherlands’ most recognized vehicles for innovative electronic music. It has presented a generation of experimental bass and rhythm music at festivals as North Sea Jazz, Exit Festival and Appelsap, and it has connected musicians and audiences of different generations at renowned institutions as Bimhuis, Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ and the TrouwAmsterdam.

This event starts at 9 pm with champagne, cake, and a world premiere: a solo performance of electroacoustic improviser Raphael Vanoli of Knalpot. Tickets are 5 euros before 10, and 7.50 afterwards. Join us on Facebook and, but more importantly, at OT301 on 19 March. We look forward to celebrating with you.

By Juha — Posted February 20, 2011 — 4,615 Comments

Is there still a future for classical music?

From this year on the annual Three-Day Music Festival in the Dutch city of The Hague will become the epicenter for innovations in classical music: “Is there a future for classical music?“, “How can we engage a new and young(er) audience?” and “what will a concert (hall) be like in the year 2030?“. Non-fiction sets out to broaden the horizon and discover new territories.

For quite some time now Non-fiction’s Michiel van Iersel has been involved in the so-called Three-Day Music Festival in The Hague. This year’s event takes place on March 5 – 7 and is the 7th edition of this annual celebration of classical music. Up to now the overarching theme of this classical music event was ‘Young Talents meet Great Masters’, with master classes, the Classic Express (an amazing mobile concert hall), recitals and concerts in which well established musicians took to the stage with a new generation of musicians.

However, from this edition onward, the festival will focus on innovations in the world of (classical) music performances. The festival wants to play a pivotal role in stimulating cross-disciplinary projects, state-of-the-art facilities, technological innovations, off-site concerts and smart (online) communication tools. The underlying questions are: “how can we engage a new and young(er) audience in classical music” and “what will a concert (hall) be like in the year 2030“?

We will be looking at the most innovative and outlandish attempts to shake of classical music’s boring image and to revitalize this ancient art form. Obviously, we will start by examining the revolutionary nature of the (classical) music itself. What would be the contemporary equivalent of Igor Stravinsky‘s controversial and violentSacre‘, John Cage‘s legendary 4’33″ or Karlheinz Stockhausen‘s mindblowing (and deafening) ‘Helicopter String Quartet‘?

On our personal shortlist you’ll find Michel van der Aa‘s chamber opera One and sound art by people like Carsten Nicolai and Christian Marclay, but also Radiohead guitarist Jonny Greenwood‘s new compositions for the London Sinfonietta as part of the South Bank Centre’s cutting-edge Ether Festival in 2005. Please let us know what your nominees are.

The impact of new and digital media on the creation and consumption of classical music will be discussed as well, from Edgard Varèse‘s groundbreaking work up to the electric violin and other absurdities from the 70′s and 80′s, via the 3D Tour of Classical Music History that was developed back in 1993 (!), down to recent innovations like the crowdsourced Youtube Symphony Orchestra at Carnegie Hall and Virtual Maestro, a game on Nintendo’s Wii which allows you to conduct a virtual orchestra.

The concert hall of the 21st century is one of the subjects that will be discussed during a new series of talk shows and presentations in which both experts and visitors will be explicitly asked to pass an opinion on future developments. We will scan the globe in search for brave architectural statements that have fundamentally changed the acoustic and esthetic standards for concert halls and music centers alike. Think of the Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media & Performing Arts Center (0r simply EMPAC) in upstate New York, Zaha Hadid‘s billowing Bach pavilion in Manchester, the new Oslo Opera House (in Norwegian: Operahuset) and our beloved Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ, Amsterdam’s (self-proclaimed) “Concert hall of the 21st Century”.

Architect and provocateur extraordinaire Rem Koolhaas will be our keynote speaker on Saturday, March 6. The Lucent Danstheater (completed in 1987 and housing the Netherlands Dance Theater) is one of the festival locations, but also happens to be one of Rem Koolhaas’s first completed projects to receive widespread critical acclaim. In the coming years it will be replaced by a new and multifunctional music center in the same location. Obviously we have asked him to elaborate on ‘his’ Casa da Música, being not only his most recent attempt to design the perfect concert venue but also providing a model for other music venues and cultural icons in the 21st century and millennia to come.

We will liven up his contribution with a series of short videos of users and visitors of both the Casa da Musica and the Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ. We want to know how the buildings function (technically, but also socially), what the biggest strengths and weaknesses of the design are, whether or not they have had an impact on the local music scene and/or international reputation and what lessons can be learned from them?

For this reason we will attend the Portugese premiere of Michel van der Aa‘s music theatre work ‘The Book of Disquiet” at Casa da Musica in Porto next week, for a recorded ‘walkthrough’ with our favorite Dutch composer and António Jorge Pacheco, the institute’s artistic director. We will be discussing the building’s design concept and day-to-day functioning from an artistic, social and practical viewpoint.

The final result of these filmed interviews ‘on the move‘ will be shown during the festival, but in the meantime we will keep  you updated on our website and on the festival’s blog and through Twitter.

Casa da Música, Porto (Source: The Guardian)

By Michiel — Posted February 1, 2010 — 5,270 Comments

Non-fiction in 2009 (and we’ve only just begun..)

It has been an exciting first year (in beta) for us at Non-fiction, with projects ranging from social media strategies for the Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ and Tropenmuseum Junior, via new concepts for an illustrious canal house ánd an ancient castle to a range of workshops in a.o. Ljubljana and Zürich. Together with our friends at TrouwAmsterdam we opened the temporary project space ‘De Verdieping‘, hosting a wide range of cultural and social events. The year ended with a cover story in Time Out magazine, giving our co-created vision of Amsterdam in 2020. The start of the next decade promises to be even more innovative, collaborative and challenging..

So what happened in 2009?

At the beginning of the year we worked with the renowned Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ, the Concerthall of the 21st Century, helping the organization with their public strategy, new media development and visual identity.

In the months leading up to the summer we organized Aura: an exhibition and a series of events in the historic premises of Castrum Peregrini Foundation, where in WWII young German Jews survived in hiding.

Since March we are responsible for the artistic direction and strategic development of a cultural project space, De Verdieping, in the basement of the Berlin-style club and restaurant TrouwAmsterdam, resulting in a series of lively public discussions, art and architecture exhibitions, experimental performances and film nights in collaboration with half the city (and soon the world).

Around the summer working with the Tropenmuseum Junior (TMJ) in Amsterdam to devise a social strategy for their new exhibition ‘Qi of China‘ and an online game that enables children in the age of 6 – 13 to experience a number of key cultural values in Chinese culture.

Halfway through the year Non-fiction relocated its office from the Scheepvaartmuseum (National Maritime Museum) to the former laboratory of the Netherlands Institute for Cultural Heritage, right in the cultural heart of Amsterdam overlooking Museumplein (Museumsquare).

in July 2009 Non-fiction’s Juha van ‘t Zelfde co-founded VURB, together with Ben Cerveny, design strategist and data visualization theorist and in collaboration with James Burke (RoomwareNarb). VURB is a European framework for policy and design research concerning urban computational systems.

Next spring and summer we will be organizing several projects at Duivenvoorde Castle, a stately museum-mansion and unique parkland (see below) near the city of The Hague. We received a request from the organization to make a contribution to their yearlong celebration of the museum’s 50th anniversary in 2010.

In the past four years, we have been organizing experimental music events at Bimhuis, Melkweg, De Verdieping and TrouwAmsterdam. These nights are organized under our electronic music label Viral Radio, which has a regular show on Dutch public network VPRO‘s 3voor12.

In december we visited lovely Ljubljana to give a presentation and a series of workshops for the Access to Contemporary Art Conservation conference, organized by the Netherlands Institute for Cultural Heritage in collaboration with Museo Reina Sofia in Madrid and kindly hosted by the Moderna Galerija in Ljubljana.

Non-fiction’s Juha participated an intimate workshop in Cabaret Voltaire in Zurich in his role as editor of Soundmuseum. ‘Audio Art on the Radio’ was organized by the Institute for Contemporary Arts Research of the Zurich University of the Arts, and focused on the question how open, interactive and democratic radio should be?

Recently the Amsterdam branch of the international city periodical Time Out invited us to come up with a vision of the city in the year 2020, so we decided to provide them with a collaborative urban visions by collecting dozens of thought-provoking Twitter-style messages from our friends and heroes from around the world.  The magazine has just hit the stores, so check it out or contact us if you wish to receive a copy!

Wow, that’s a lot..

And we even forgot to tell you about Curating the City, our night long interview series with museum professionals and artists about ‘the museum in the city and the city as museum’ during the annual Museumnight (n8), and about our latest publications and our friends, new and old, and about the birth of Michiel’s daughter and Juha’s hobbies.

And what are our plans for 2010?

Now the ‘noughties’ make way for a brand new decade, Non-fiction is gearing up for yet another year of recession-defying activities and  intelligent pragmatism. We will continu our exploration of the pro’s and con’s of co-creation, social media, urban interventions, guerilla gardening, data visualization, public accessibility, augmented reality, ubiquitous museums and other innovative ideas that will fundamentally change our lives.

And we will jumpstart the new year with presentations and proposals for such diverse organizations as the local municipality, SNS REAAL Foundation, Binger Filmlab, the Zuidas, PICNIC, ICN, Paradiso, Duivenvoorde and ING. And we are happy to receive more inquiries and invitations, since we can always outsource some of our activities to our man in India.

We will keep you updated on our website and on Facebook and Twitter (and here and here), but please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us if you are looking for a stimulating conversation, a good laugh or a place to meet kindred spirits.

Please join us for the opening of the new year in De Verdieping with a special sound performance by our dear friend and multi-instrumentalist Machinefabriek on Wednesday 6 January at 8 pm. And later that month, on Thursday 28 January at 8 pm we are hosting the ’2020 vision’ event at De Verdieping in collaboration with Time Out Amsterdam, showcasing different perspectives on the future of Amsterdam by KesselsKramer, LAgroup, Concrete, Benthem Crouwel and… Non-fiction.

Drive and shoot straight on New Year’s Eve!


By Michiel — Posted December 31, 2009 — 9,076 Comments

Muziekgebouw aan ´t IJ: Donderdagavondserie


One of the things I am working on at the Muziekgebouw aan ´t IJ is the new Donderdagavondserie, a weekly display of current developments in contemporary music on Thursday nights. With ensembles as the Asko|Schönberg, Ives and Ictus. If you would like to join me for a concert, or check one out later on, let me know. It is always nice to introduce new people to this incredible hall.

Furthermore we have set up a new social media strategy, by using Facebook, Last FM, Hyves, Flickr, YouTube and Twitter. Join our social music revolution and benefit from free tickets, inside news and other developments.

By Juha — Posted February 4, 2009 — 2,415 Comments

Non-fiction starts working for Muziekgebouw aan´t IJ

Muziekgebouw aan ´t IJ

Starting on Monday 12 January, Non-fiction will begin working for the renowned Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ. This Concerthall of the 21st Century is located in the redeveloped eastern docklands of Amsterdam. It was opened by the Dutch Queen Beatrix in the summer of 2005, guided by the Arditti Quartet, Asko Ensemble, Schönberg Ensemble and others from the realm of contemporary music. Jan Wolff was the founder and director, until Tino Haenen took over in June 2008.

Our objective is to help the organisation with their public strategy, new media development and visual identity. We are honored to be working with such an incredible music institute and look forward to the assignment.

By Juha — Posted January 11, 2009 — 62 Comments